PatchMate Tracker

Managing Your Loved One’s Affairs

Health Care Decisions

Some people with Alzheimer’s are able to make decisions about their own health care beyond the early stage of the disease. But because the course of the disease can vary, the best time to begin thinking about the future is as soon after diagnosis as possible. Start talking to your loved one and family members and educating yourself on the options available.

  • HERE ARE SOME STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:

  • CHOOSE

    Choose

    • Someone to make future decisions for the person with Alzheimer’s.
    • The level of assistance needed: health care, personal care, and/or home care.
    • A safe place to keep copies of health insurance cards, financial papers and wills.
    • A geriatric care manager to help you locate and arrange for necessary services like meal or home health services.

    DISCUSS

    Discuss

    • Options with an attorney who has experience in elder-care issues.
    • Managing your loved one’s financial affairs (e.g., investments) with a financial planner.
    • And locate community programs and agencies that can help later on;— involve your loved one if possible.
    • With an attorney whether you should obtain a will, durable power of attorney, or advance directives.

    LEARN

    Learn

    • About the benefits offered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other forms of insurance.
    • What kinds of community services are available (adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, etc.) and see if they’re offered in your area. Set up visits.
    • To keep legal documents (such as wills and advance directives) up to date.
    • See what else you can do to prepare for the future.
  • When someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, legal matters aren’t exactly the first thing on your mind. That said, it’s important to take care of these issues—and involve your loved one if they’re still able to make decisions.

    • FOLLOWING THE ALZHEIMER’S DIAGNOSIS, YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONE SHOULD:

    • Start discussing future needs together.
    • Meet with an attorney specializing in elder care who can outline all of the issues to consider.
    • Together, seek an attorney’s advice about whether it will be necessary to create legally binding documents.
    • HERE IS INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE DOCUMENTS YOU’LL WANT TO CONSIDER:

    • Advance Directives
      • Advance directives are documents that can speak for a person at a time when he or she can no longer do so. They let a person provide instructions regarding the type of health care he or she wants. You or your loved one may designate someone to make health care decisions on his or her behalf, and you may also want to provide instructions about which types of health care interventions you do and do not want.
    • Power Of Attorney
      • A general power of attorney gives one person the power to act on behalf of another. The document can give broad powers ("manage all my affairs") or specific ones ("manage only the sale of my home").
      • A health care power of attorney is more limited, because the designated person is empowered to make decisions regarding health care only.
      • When someone has a durable power of attorney or a durable health care power of attorney, he or she has the right to make decisions throughout the person's illness. If a power of attorney is not durable, it may expire when the person becomes unable to make or communicate decisions. Be sure to speak to an attorney about which document is right for you.
    • Living Will, Living Trust, and Will
      • A living will expresses end-of-life wishes regarding use of life-sustaining treatments. It becomes effective only when the person can no longer make decisions or convey them to others.
      • A living trust designates who will manage assets once the person is no longer able to manage finances. It also specifies how the assets will be distributed upon death.
      • A will only describes how the assets will be distributed upon death.

Managing Finances

  • Alzheimer’s disease may make new demands on your loved one's financial situation and managing his or her finances alone can be difficult. Work together with your loved one if possible (as early on as you can) to arrange for additional assistance when it’s needed. Getting those numbers to add up doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think it does.

    Organizing Your Loved One’s Paperwork

    The first thing to do is locate important financial papers. Knowing where these key items are will help you handle things more easily in the future:

    • bankbooks
    • checkbooks
    • insurance policies
    • stock certificates and investment statements
    • property and car titles
    • retirement or disability benefits

    Planning Ahead

    The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease means that the two of you, and perhaps other members of your family, need to make some financial and legal decisions. It is important to plan now so that the person with Alzheimer's disease will be able to participate fully in decision making.

    Among the things you will need to consider is the cost of care. Alzheimer's disease care can be costly. Families may pay close to $40,000 a year for home health aides. For those living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, the cost may vary from $40,000 to more than $70,000 a year. These costs are not paid by most health insurance policies or Medicare.

Here are some additional resources for information on caregiving, Alzheimer's disease, and more.

Here are some additional resources for information on caregiving, Alzheimer's disease, and more.

Access helpful information about Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving for your loved one.

Access helpful information about Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving for your loved one.

10/15 T-EXP-1318386

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